The Arbitraries (Create Your Own Year-End Award) 2020

This year, when so many things were different…this is exactly the same. It’s our annual comedy-writing/superlative-awards mashup, where you make up a totally custom award and then shockingly, the game you wanted to win, does.

Did you want a place to call out a game that was good, or bad, or did just one thing good or bad, or just for some reason you couldn’t stop thinking about it? Now’s your chance!

Since the awards themselves are made up, the criteria tend to be a little more complicated than just “best”, so help us out and give a line or two of explanation about each one.

As per tradition:
The only rule is: if you disagree with another poster, please share that in the form of an award.

Worst Thing About 2020: Changing “Quarterlies” to “Arbitraries”

The Turned An Unfathomable Hell of a Year Into a Manageable Slog By Means of Adorable Friends and Calming Gameplay and Surprisingly Great Music and Pulling My GF Into Modern Gaming for the First Time Since FFX Award goes to

Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the game I’ve played more hours than any game ever

The Embarrassing Qt3 Newb Mistake Made by a Forum Elder award goes to

@Scotch_Lufkin, who forgot that the Quarterlies and the Arbitraries are different things!

They are? I have no recollection of “Arbirtraries”? Well, nevermind then.

The Made Up Awards go back a while, but the rebranding happened a couple years ago because Quarterlies was taken by the official GOTY award thread and I got tired of not having a consistent thread title to search for year to year.

The Game That Took Over my Heart And Soul and Game That People are Sick About Me Talking About Awards go to Star Fleet II!
The Most Surprising Game and Quickest Purchase Awards go to Bloody Rally Show!

That makes sense. I do remember The Made Up Awards!

I think my original inspiration for these threads was @tomchick himself, I seem to remember him doing something similar for some site at some point under the banner of Chicklets (though maybe it was someone else)

Best Title Drop: Ghost of Tsushima Think there were maybe a few good ones this year, but for me its GoT. After the opening segment and a brief cutscene that transitions to gameplay the title drops as you have control and ride your horse over the field of flowers really setting the mood.

Best Easter Egg: Huntdown Sho’Nuff single frame in boss attack. Huntdown has a lot of cool Easter eggs, some buried in the background and some more extravagant as secret areas, no one crosses the duke, but the best has to be a single frame of the final boss’ sword attack which is Sho’nuff’s face from the movie The Last Dragon.

The COD Cold War (Can Old Dude play with his kids without totally embarrassing himself especially on multiplayer mode) award goes to me. Been playing and actually able to kill at least one person on the other team per round (sometimes three!!).

Arby’s should sponsor Tom.

Sometimes I spend wayyyyy too much time working on lists. In order to cut myself a little slack this time around, I won’t be writing out all my awards in one post. I’ll reply to this thread every time I’m in the mood to share more.

The Game That Proves Men Don’t Have a Monopoly on Fart Humor:

  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Xbox GamePass, Played Feb 2020):
    People hate them, but I found the Wolfenstein sisters fun and confident. And they’re pretty good at massacres, too. Even though Wolf: Youngblood came out a full year later, at the game’s release I think more words were written about how horrible it is to see these chicks having fun during elevator loading screens than all other words had been written about an existing-but-then-future sensation, Among Us. People really hated Zofia and Jess.

The Brutality of Rural Life Award goes to Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. Midway through the game, the little baby character finds a pack of ducks that you keep in a pen and release each morning. They waddle adorably to your rice paddy and eat all the weeds. Late in the season, you’re given an option to keep them, at which point the eat some of your rice crop, or you can turn them into dinner. Coldest of all, the game doesn’t penalize you for murdering your happy ducks – the baby finds new ones each season, and the vicious cycle begins again.

The Revengeance Award for the Most Satisfying Parry of the Year goes to Nioh 2. The Brute burst counter animation temporarily turns you into a demon to backhand bitch slap enemies out of their incoming attack. It’s not the most effective counter in the game, but it’s definitely hilarious.

The Best Intermediate Difficulty of 2020 goes to Crimzon Clover: World Explosion. The new Arrange mode fits perfectly between Novice difficulty, which is too easy, and Arcade difficulty, which is way too hard. It’s not often you get an addon to a game that adds an intermediate difficulty level. (This game also reinforced how much I like playing shmups casually on a couch – it’s too bad there are so few premier shoot 'em ups on Switch.)

Yeah it would be brutal to lose your crops. And to miss out on that delicious duck.

Best Harem Game Released in 2020 goes to Final Fantasy VII Remake. Seriously, in the first few hours of the game, there are more hot girls hitting on Cloud than enemies hitting him. Jessie in particular is relentless. It’s silly and kind of awesome, I suppose. ;)

Best Use of Body Horror: The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories. This totally surprised me, as I was expecting some throwaway shlock, but instead got one of the best horror games I’ve played: not from a “is it scary” perspective, but from a “using horror to illustrate some element of society or personal psychology” perspective. The story it’s in service of is also a surprisingly well handled LGBT storyline. It’s knows how long to be, and (for me) just barely rides the frustrating / fun line. One of those games where I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody, but for people interested in either LGBT or horror themes, I think it’s a must-play.

Most Improved Re-Release Award: Catherine: Full Body. I played the original Catherine on PS3, and liked the idea of it way more than the execution. There is a fundamental disconnect between narrative and gameplay, but also the falling block puzzle parts were just way too punishingly hard. Full Body completely re-worked the lives system for the block puzzles, and made it actually achievable. It isn’t without its problems still, but it elevated it from a curiosity to something I could actually play.

The GOTY (Before-Times Edition): Slay The Spire. The beginning of the year always feels far away, but looking over my list of games I played this year, I found Slay The Spire which I had played the shit out of in Jan-Feb, mostly during my daily commute, but completely forgotten about in the meantime.

The Genre of the Year (Pandemic Edition): Roguelites, in a surprise upset from “Grinding a JRPG for 1000 hours to beat the optional post-game bosses”. Want something you can play in 20 minutes between Zoom calls? Try a roguelite. Want something you can stress-play for 18 hours straight while stuck in the house but you don’t have the mental energy to process like, plot, or narrative? Try a roguelite. In another year, I probably wouldn’t have even played Hades.

The Least Surprising Post in This Thread Award goes to



The Game That Took Over my Heart And Soul and Game That People are Sick About Me Talking About Awards go to Star Fleet II !
The Most Surprising Game and Quickest Purchase Awards go to Bloody Rally Show !


The Best Frakking Good Time Award Battlestar Galactica Deadlock. An utterly fantastic game with a lot of enjoyable strategic choices. If you like WEGO tactics and sci fi, this is an absolute lock.

Best Replay in the History of Video Games Battlestar Galactica Deadlock. A game so good it deserves two awards. And, seriously, they did something with the replay feature that I haven’t seen executed so well. Plus they show a solid understanding of filming techniques and how to show the most interesting parts of any battle. It nearly perfectly captures the style and cadence of the shows space battles with the auto director, and the sound design matches. Normally I skip watching replays, but here I watched almost every single major battle.

The I Don’t Know What I Expected Award Me, for buying my wife Animal Crossing New Horizons. I got a Switch for Christmas. I am really excited and have enjoyed my time with it! I also have had a hard time with getting time, because I bought my wife Animal Crossing. She isn’t a huge gamer, but she did enjoy The Sims, so I thought it would be fun for her and my 7 year old to play together. Turns out I was more correct than I could possibly know. She has more time on the Switch than I do currently.

To that I simply say, amen and amen.

Only played thru Broken Alliance so far, which is part of the 1st season, and this is my GOTY for 2020.

Best 2020 game I started playing on the very last day of 2020 goes to Ghost of Tsushima. That title drop really is something else. And it looks amazing.